Tag Archive: Montclair

Stephen Colbert just paid for all of South Carolina’s teacher grant requests

Stephen ColbertThis is the face of a mensch.

Know how Stephen Colbert celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week? Colbert, who dwells in Montclair, just helped out South Carolina’s public schools to the tune of $800,000 by funding every SC teacher’s crowdsourced grant. That’s every grant request filed by a SC teacher at DonorsChoose.org (he’s on the board). Almost 1,000 projects, more than 375 schools, written by more than 800 teachers.

“Enjoy the learnin’, South Carolina!”

   – Colbert, in live video feed to teachers & students at Alexander Elementary School, Greenville

Hard not to compare what Colbert did with what Mark Zuckerberg did. Colbert announced his gift in a live video feed to a Greenville elementary school – to kids & teachers. Zuck announced his on Oprah at the height of her popularity (and right after the release of The Social Network which was none-too flattering), with (then) rising stars Chris Christie and Cory Booker helping Oprah fawn over him. And Colbert’s gift goes toward things teachers notice kids need – new books, computers, teacher development, field trips. Zuck’s gift was put toward the high-minded but ultimately destructive effort to dismantle Newark public ed and fork over the pieces to private tycoons.

Five months ago, Cobert retired his eagle-loving persona on Comedy Central and raised part of the money for his gift to SC public ed by auctioning off The Colbert Report‘s set; there were also matching funds from 2 other orgs.

Colbert was once a student in South Carolina public schools. He takes over The Late Show from David Letterman in September.  

Robert Peace and “I Can’t Breathe”

Camden, Trenton, Newark, Jersey City, Montclair, Lawrence, and Princeton are just some of the New Jersey locations where people have taken to the streets protesting police injustice and repeating the phrase “I can’t breathe.” Saturday in East Orange students marched loudly and peacefully down Martin Luther King Blvd. Next door in Orange is where Robert Peace was born in 1981. He lived a short, tragic life – a bright African-American who attended St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark and went to Yale but could not escape problems confronted by so many of his brethren.

Outrage over the decision not to criminally charge the police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island is a recurrent theme in our history. In Newark in 1967 a black cab driver was pulled over by police and badly beaten within sight of residents. Thus began the Newark insurrection.

The current protests go well beyond discontent with police problems. Following the election of President Barack Obama there was talk about a new post-racial society. It continues a work-in-progress. The ongoing racial tension is displayed by Robert Peace who learned to live and even thrive at Yale and yet under the surface resented the inequality he saw around him. He was an A+ student leader but bore the weight of a father in prison, a mother who works two shifts a day, and a childhood living in a low-income, dangerous neighborhood.  

While it’s hard to find justice in the Ferguson and Staten Island incidents, there remains the hope that the coalition of protesters – people of all colors and ages – will yet manage to bring about new procedures, attitudes and broader change. Perhaps one small step forward was in July when after a three-year study the U. S. Department of Justice announced it would install a monitor over the Newark police that it found had repeatedly violated the rights of its citizens, especially blacks. Many more steps are needed.

Anand Giridharadas concludes in a N Y Times book review of Peace’s biography, “Robert Peace, who called his mother “my heart,” was her only and beloved son. But he was our son, too. We are the wondrous country that made him a Yale man. We are the wanting country where even that wasn’t enough to spare him.”  

Snapshots: Tuesday’s protest of bigoted Ted Nugent

John Atlas put it well:

“He’s a decent guitar player, but a vile human being.”

That’s about right. And that’s why a crowd showed up outside Ted Nugent’s show at the Wellmont Theater last night. They weren’t there for the guitar playing, but to protest Nugent’s nasty-ass view of the world and other people. The Wellmont didn’t cancel Nugent’s show, despite calls asking them to do just that. Disgust with his racist and otherwise bigoted statements has cost Nugent gigs, like the casino booking Nugent lost Monday. Nugent calls people who protest him “unclean vermin”. I say there were a lot of good people – better than him – outside the Wellmont last night. My friend Stacy Kay took this snapshots:

Created with flickr slideshow.

TONIGHT 6:30PM: Protest Ted Nugent at Montclair’s Wellmont Theater

“…subhuman mongrel …”

Ted Nugent,on President Obama

“You probably can’t use the term ‘toxic cunt’ in your magazine, but that’s what she is.”

– Nugent, on Hillary Clinton

“I’d like to shoot them dead.”

– Nugent on undocumented immigrants

The Coeur d’Alene Tribejust canceled Ted Nugent’s August 4 casino gig in Worley, Idaho yesterday, because Nugent’s “racist and hate-filled remarks” were unacceptable.

But as of now, Nugent is scheduled to perform tonight at the Wellmont Theater right in the middle of one of NJ’s most progressive, most inclusive towns – Montclair. This despite months of calls to the theater to register upset, most of which went unanswered by the theater (their statement, here). Ticket sales were flagging last week.

So tonight, as Nugent takes the stage in Montclair, a lot of people who find his brand of racist, homophobic, sexist and violence-inciting commentary will be outside the Wellmont tonight:

TONIGHT, starting 6:30pm at the Wellmont Theater

5 Seymour Street Montclair NJ

Gather at the corner of Seymour & Bloomfield Ave.

Ted Nugent is coming to New Jersey

Ted Nugent said, “Obama, he’s a piece of shit, and I told him to suck on my machine gun. Let’s hear it for him. And then I was in New York. I said, “Hey, Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch. Since I’m in California, how about[Senator] Barbara Boxer [D-CA], she might want to suck on my machine gun. And [Senator] Dianne Feinstein [D-CA], ride one of these you worthless whore. Any questions?”

                      – Ted Nugent, via LiveLeak.com, accessed 10/1/12

A bunch of good souls, some of them friends of mine, are going to show up where this racist, sexist, gun-lovin’ character is appearing in New Jersey and exercise some American free speech rights. Want in?

What to do: First, RSVP at Facebook and say that you will come to a picketline if they don’t cancel him. And then call the Wellmont Theater at (973) 783-9500 and let them know you will be picketing outside if they don’t cancel him.

Ted Nugent screen capProtest Ted Nugent in Montclair

Tuesday, July 22 at 6:30pm

The Wellmont Theater, 5 Seymour St. Montclair, NJ

Fight Back Against the Assault on Public Education: Dec. 9 Day of Action

promoted by Rosi

National Day of ActionThe assault on public education isn’t confined to Newark or Montclair or Highland Park or Camden. Not confined to Chris Christie’s New Jersey. It’s a national phenomenon and countering it will take a national pushback. The beginning of that pushback just could be Dec. 9 when a national coalition of educational, parent, community and civic groups launch “A National Day to Reclaim the Promise of Public Education.”

At a teleconference yesterday, Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, outlined plans for a coordinated “day of action” in cities and towns throughout the country, most of them aimed at enlisting parents and community members in the fight against the corporate takeover of public education.

“We’re reclaiming the collaboration we have always had with parents in support of all public school students,” Weingarten said. She added the National Education Association also is a partner in the effort that she hopes will be followed up by sustained efforts to keep public education well-funded and out of private control.

New Jersey organizations in the coalition include the Newark Teachers Union (NTU), the Education Law Center, and New Jersey Communities United.